Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Master of Cans

There are certain skills you need in order to effectively execute the business of living. We learn these skills over time as we grow and are instructed, either directly or by example, first by our parents, then by teachers, and peers and later our colleagues. The potential skill set is enormous, but no one learns them all because there is no need.

However, there are certain essential universal skills which we require for routine living; using utensils to feed ourselves for example. In relation to these vital every day skills, I have a confession to make: for many years I have struggled with one particularly crucial one. I can do it, but not well and even after so much practice and concerted effort to improve, I have not, until recently been able to do it without making a mess.

My breakthrough came recently as I was sitting in my car, holding a can of Coke in my left hand. With the middle finger of my right hand poised for action, I took a breath and steadied myself. Never had I previously been able to pop the can open without ejecting some of its contents either on my person or a nearby hapless target. My hand shook a little as I sensed something momentous, and historic about to unfurl. Or perhaps another appalling and embarrassing failure.

I levered my finger under the ring pull and lifted it: simultaneously delighted by the cracking sound and the clean perforation of the can. No Coke escaped. The celebrations went on for several minutes as I toasted myself and reveled in the joyful satisfaction of mastering a new skill.

What new skill have you mastered recently?

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